Toyota finished 2015 as the world's top selling automaker, with Volkswagen and GM taking out the podium places.
- shares

The company sold a total of 10,151,000 vehicles worldwide during 2015, down 0.8 percent on last year's figure of 10.23 million. Sales for the Toyota and Lexus brands rose 0.5 percent to 9.19 million, while Hino trucks sold 168,000 vehicles (up 0.006 percent).

These rises were offset by a 13.3 percent drop in Daihatsu sales, with the small car maker hit by taxation changes for kei cars in Japan, as well as a softening new car market in Indonesia.

Toyota finished the year, again, in number one spot in Japan with 1.33 million cars sold (down 4.6 percent). Daihatsu was down 14.5 percent to 468,171 cars.


Despite a drop in sales, Toyota finished the year ahead of second place Volkswagen, which has been beset by the on-going dieselgate saga, but still managed to move 9.93 million vehicles worldwide, down 2.0 percent from 10.14 million in 2014.

In a statement, Matthias Mueller, Volkswagen Group chairman, said, "Delivering almost ten million vehicles is an excellent result, particularly in view of the continued challenging market situation in some regions as well as the diesel issue in the final quarter of last year".

The group recorded falls for its Volkswagen, MAN and Scania brands. Volkswagen passenger car range was down 4.8 percent to 5.82 million sales worldwide, while Volkswagen's commercial lineup slipped 3.5 percent to 430,800 vehicles, MAN dropped 14.7 percent to 102,500, and Scania is expected to be down 4.0 percent to 76,600 trucks.

Despite the stream of news regarding dieselgate, the company recorded increases at its Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche brands. Audi was up 3.6 percent to 1.8 million cars, Skoda improved 1.8 percent to 1.06 million sales, Seat recorded an increase of 2.4 percent to 400,000 units, and Porsche jumped up 18.6 percent to 225,100 vehicles.

Regionally, sales in Europe were up 2.5 percent to 4.05 million, that's despite a collapse in the Russian market, where sales were down 36.8 percent to 174,300 cars.

Sales were also up in 4.4 percent to 931,800 units in North America, with much of that growth, presumably, coming from Mexico. The company did record a 1.2 percent increase in the USA to 607,100 cars.

As with other automakers, South America and Asia proved to be challenging. Sales in Brazil dropped 38.1 percent to 389,900, playing a large part in the 29.8 percent slide in the overall South American region to 558,300 sales.

A slowing Chinese economy can be blamed for a 3.4 percent drop in sales there, down from 3.68 million in 2014 to 3.55 million last year. As a result, sales in the Asia Pacific region dropped 3.0 percent to 3.9 million.

Despite that, China is still Volkswagen's largest single market by a huge margin, with Asia Pacific the company's second largest regional market after Europe.


In third place was GM, which notched up its third straight year of sales increases, albeit just. In 2015, the Detroit-based automaker recorded 9.84 million sales worldwide, up 0.2 percent or 20,894 cars from 2014.

The brand breakdown includes falls for Chevrolet, Holden and Wuling. The bow tie marque was down 6.9 percent to 4.42 million vehicles, Holden was down 2.1 percent to 116,971, while the China-only truck maker Wuling slipped 7.5 percent to 1.46 million cars.

Making up for these decreases were improvements at Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Opel/Vauxhall and Baojun. The tri-shield marque was up 8.7 percent to 1.23 million (nearly a million of those were recorded in China), Cadillac recorded an increase of 7.5 percent to 277,784 vehicles, Opel/Vauxhall notched up a 3.4 percent gain to 1.13 million, and GMC surged ahead 10.9 percent to 679,549.

The biggest mover, though, was Wuling's passenger affiliate Baojun, which increased sales by 173.4 percent to 463,533 cars in 2015.

Buoyed by the success of Baojun, GM increased sales in China by 5.2 percent to 3,612,636 vehicles. China just edged out North America as GM's largest market, despite the company notching up a 5.9 percent gain across Mexico, the USA and Canada to finish the year on 3,612,453 sales.

Thanks to weakness in Russia and the shuttering of the Chevrolet brand across much of the region, overall European sales were down 6.4 percent to 1.18 million.

Economic problems in South America accounted for a 26.5 percent fall to 645,217 vehicles. The rest of the world was down 5.2 percent to 794,637.